All these books have lived together … inside my mind. They follow one another only on paper and because of an utter impossibility to let themselves be all written at the same time. Whatever book I write, I never devote myself to it completely, and the matter which most insistently requires me soon later develops, however, at the other end of me.
Topics: Authors & Writing
I owe much to my friends; but, all things considered, it strikes me that I owe even more to my enemies. The real person springs life under a sting even better than under a caress.
It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves—in finding themselves.
Too chaste a youth leads to a dissolute old age
The most decisive actions of our life — I mean those that are most likely to decide the whole course of our future — are, more often than not, unconsidered.
Most quarrels amplify a misunderstanding.
February 13, 1951. No! I cannot claim that with the end of this notebook, of the notebook, all will be settled, that all will have been done. Perhaps I will have the desire to add to this again. To add something. To add. Perhaps. To add to this again at the last moment
It is not always by plugging away at a difficulty and sticking at it that one overcomes it; but, rather, often by working on the one next to it. Certain people and certain things require to be approached at an angle.
Topics: Ideas, Perseverance
Not everyone can be an orphan.
Humanity cherishes its swaddling clothes; but it shall not grow up unless it can free itself from them. Turning down his mother’s breast does not make the weaned child ungrateful. … Rise up naked, valiant; make the sheaths crack; push aside the stakes; to grow straight you need no more than the thrust of your sap and the call of the sun.
It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for something you are not.
In order to judge properly, one must get away somewhat from what one is judging, after having loved it. This is true of countries, of persons, and of oneself.
The greatest intelligence is precisely the one that suffers most from its own limitations.
Oh, would that my mind could let fall its dead ideas, as the tree does its withered leaves.
The belief that becomes truth to me is that which allows me the best use of my strength, the best means of putting my virtues into action.
Believe those who seek the truth, doubt those who find it; doubt all, but do not doubt yourself.
There is no prejudice that the work of art does not finally overcome.
Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better.
Before I explain my book to others, I expect them to explain it to me. To claim to explain it first is to immediately narrow down its reach; for if we know what we intended to say, we do not know whether we said only that. – One always says more than THAT. – And what interests me most is what I put in without knowing, – that unconscious share, which I would like to call God’s share.
Topics: Authors & Writing
“Know thyself” – a maxim as pernicious as it is odious. A person observing himself would arrest his own development. Any caterpillar who tried to “know himself” would never become a butterfly.
Topics: Knowledge, Self-Discovery
The most important things to say are those which often I did not think necessary for me to say — because they were too obvious.
We live counterfeit lives in order to resemble the idea we first had of ourselves.
Topics: Being Ourselves
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